And Just Look At That Shine

This issue of Sojourners marks a significant breakthrough in paper technology. As you can see, we have changed over to a shinier, more readable stock that is far superior to our old paper, which we think was made from landfill, or possibly medical waste from New Jersey.

Our new paper stock is both recycled and bleach free (it never needs ironing), and is probably more environmentally responsible than Ralph Nader. Speaking of Ralph Nader, I once rode on an airplane with him and was so much in awe of the man that I didn’t even ask him for his peanuts, even though they just sat there unopened on his tray table. And I was really hungry because I thought it was a "dinner flight," but it was really one of those "snack flights."

Actually, seeing Nader was no big deal for me, since I frequently rub elbows with important people in Washington, D.C. Ted Kennedy once walked right past me at the Capitol when I was standing at the water fountain. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to give him advice on any important issues, even if he had noticed me, which he didn’t. Ihad to get back outside to the demonstration. (Something about nuclear weapons, I think, which we were against.)

But getting back to our new paper: we’re pretty proud of it. This innovative new paper stock was developed through the collaboration of two of this century’s most powerful forces: high technology and nagging, whiny-voiced environmentalists. The paper is recycled, it’s produced with almost no pollutants, and it contains 10 percent real fruit juice.

We hope it will enhance your enjoyment of each issue of Sojourners, particularly page 50.

This Just In...

A new survey on church attendance in North America has revealed a surprising change in demographics. Reflecting the shifting priorities and lifestyles of American Christians, the survey confirms a radical repositioning of the 10 largest denominations. (Episcopalians, for example, didn’t even make the list this year since their surveys were mistakenly sent out the same weekend that Volvo station wagons went on sale. And Roman Catholics, traditionally the second-largest denomination, lost ground because the church still does not take credit cards over the phone.)

Based on the latest data, the nation’s 10 largest denominations are:

  • Southern Baptist Convention
  • Home Shopping Network
  • Roman Catholics
  • United Methodists
  • Star Trek, The Next Denomination
  • Free Methodists
  • Methodists With a Small Surcharge
  • ESPN
  • Presbyterians
  • Journalists Covering Whitewater

This last group is one of the newer denominations and seems to be comprised of people clinging to their faith in "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." They also think other people are paying attention.

For the Record...

Members of the Sojourners editorial staff worked for about three weeks writing, editing, and producing this issue on contemporary culture, and we never once took off our cool sunglasses.

Is It That Time Again Already?

n Iranian religious leaders last month renewed the death threat against author Salman Rushdie for his heretical work, Satanic Verses. Apparently, the statute of limitations on gratuitous Islamic death threats is only seven years, so they had to renew it or pay a fine. (Editor’s Note: The above item does not necessarily reflect the official position of Sojourners magazine toward militant Islamic fundamentalists, whom we find to be gentle, peace-loving folks who should never feel the need to park one of their rented panel trucks anywhere near our office. Come to think of it, it probably wouldn’t be there for more than 15 minutes before it was towed away by Washington’s parking Gestapo. So never mind.)

Potluck Tip #17

At our last church dinner, the young children predictably crowded around the serving table as the desserts were brought out. Tired of watching the little munchkins inhale the goodies before we grown-ups had a chance, we tried a new trick that should go down in the potluck hall of fame. When they asked me what was in the serving bowls, I simply uttered the magic phrase, "more casserole."

It worked. They scattered like it was bath time on a summer night.

By the way, the desserts were delicious.

And Speaking of Churches...

Christian Broadcasting Network founder Pat Robertson has strongly denied that making money is a driving force behind his multimillion-dollar religious empire. He did, however, acknowledge that CBN members can now get free checking with a minimum balance of $1,000.

And Finally...

This monthÆs food column answers the troublesome question: Is bovine hormone best served chilled or at room temperature?

Study Questions

In the New Testament, the word "love" appears 10 times more frequently than the word "minivan." Is this discrepancy an error in the original transcription, or is it a deliberate effort to misrepresent a crucial component of Christian life? Discuss.

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"And Just Look At That Shine"
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